Inauguration of OLSH Associate Movement
After much prayerful reflection, the Australian Province of the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (FDNSC/OLSH Sisters), on the instigation of Sr Frances Mary Walsh FDNSC/OLSH, put forward a proposition to the 1975 General Chapter that, based on the vision of Father Jules Chevalier, the OLSH Associates be introduced.
The General Chapter accepted the proposition and charged the Australian Province with its implementation and offered the following:
"Associates were to be people who were already drawn to the charism through their love of the Sacred Heart and Our Lady. As an outreach of our religious family, they were to share our spirit and our mission of loving the Heart of Jesus and radiating His love in their own circumstances and vocation in life. Their first field of apostolate would be their own home, their parish, and their daily contacts. In summary, their call was to be the Heart of Jesus in today's world, extending His reign of love, mercy and compassion".
Thus, on the feast of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (29 May 1977), Sr Mary Florine FDNSC/OLSH, the Leader of our Australian Province at that time, inaugurated the OLSH Associate movement in Australia. She wrote:
“This year, we have a special gift to offer our Mother for her special day. On this feast of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, 29 May,
the Province is commencing a new work in her honour. It is the inauguration of Associate Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart
under the direction of Sister Frances Walsh”.
The first OLSH Associates made their Commitment in the Kensington Chapel on 20 November 1977, the feast of Christ the King. The small core group of five consisted of two ex-students of OLSH College, Kensington (Yvonne Truen and Thelma Wheeler) and the mothers of three OLSH Sisters (Norma Compton, Jessie Barron, and Agnes Williams). These women were closely associated with and imbued with the spirit and knowledge of the OLSH Sisters' mission. They were, as Sr Frances Mary described, ". . .excellent soil for planting the OLSH Associate seed".
In a few years, there were OLSH Associates in every state of Australia. This growth came mainly by word of mouth as the OLSH Associates shared with their friends who recognized in the OLSH Associates' ideas and ideals the spiritual path they felt called to tread.
The OLSH Associates, like the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, were founded for a Spirituality and Charism rather than a particular apostolate or ministry. The OLSH Associates are encouraged to live out their vocation, 'to be the Heart of Christ to the world in union with Our Lady of the Sacred Heart', in their own circumstances in life, in their day-to-day contacts with family, friends, and chance passers-by. While they do not engage in any joint apostolate as OLSH Associates, they bring the love of the Heart of Jesus to the various ministries of which they are a part.
In 2019, there were 508 OLSH Associates in Australia and 15 groups that met regularly around the country. Those who meet in groups are formed in the spirit of the Charism. Others living in distant places, unable to join a group, are nourished in the Charism and Spirituality of the Heart through the regular Associates’ Newsletter, Ametur. Group meetings include prayer, input, ongoing formation, discussion, sharing, and often the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Annual retreat days and weekends are offered to the OLSH Associates in the various states and are a valuable time for growing in knowledge and love of the Charism and Spirituality of the Heart and meeting up with those from other OLSH Associate groups.
New members are usually attracted to the OLSH Associates through the experience of seeing the Charism in action in the lives of other OLSH Associates. They are invited into a group and, after an extended period of formation, make their Commitment when ready. The OLSH Provincial witnesses this Commitment and presents the new OLSH Associate with a medal of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart inscribed with “OLSH Associate”.
The current Director of OLSH Associates in Australia is Sr Ancilla White FDNSC/OLSH. An OLSH Associates Leadership Team assists Sr Ancilla.
The 'A Common Vision of Formation for the Chevalier Family' document issued by the Tri-Generalate in April 2009 is the primary resource for planning the OLSH Associate Formation Program.
- Spirituality of the Heart – a way of life
- Our Lady of the Sacred Heart – Mother, Disciple, Sister and Companion
- The Eucharist
- The call to be an OLSH Associate - a Vocation within the Christian vocation – is a call to be the Heart of Jesus in the world today
- The Charism
- Scripture, particularly the Gospels
- Formation – Initial and Ongoing
- Father Jules Chevalier and Mother Marie Louise – their lives and example
- Internationality – the Chevalier Family
The Ametur newsletter is the primary formation tool. It consists of an opening article, an ongoing formation section, group reports, prayer requests, and local, national and international Chevalier Family news. OLSH Associate groups are encouraged to use the material for group sharing and personal reflection. Reflection questions are included to assist this process.
Spirituality of the Heart Formation
Fr Hans Kwakman’s book 'Jules Chevalier’s Charism and the Identity of the Chevalier Family' was read with personal study, reflection, and group sharing for those able to join a group.
A continuing study of the Spirituality of the Heart Online Formation Course by Fr Hans Kwakman
The OLSH Associates have found Father Kwakman’s material excellent and know that it has given invaluable information concerning our Chevalier Family’s history and heritage, a challenge to continue the story, and a deep renewed love for their vocation as OLSH Associates.
An annual weekend retreat is held for all able to attend at our “heart home”, Hartzer Park. A retreat day and/or afternoon is usually held each year at Kensington, Corinda, Canberra, Melbourne, and Alice Springs.